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A-223,Vashi Plaza, Sector - 17, Vashi, Navi Mumbai 400 703. Tel: 67912189 / 27894570


October 1-15, 2013

Vol. 9, Issue - 7


IS THE FALL OF THE RUPEE GOOD OR BAD ? The Indian rupee (INR) has taken a severe beating in the past few months slumping to record lows losing more than 50% of its value in a span of just a few months. This is throwing a fresh challenge to the authorities who are at a loss to explain how to revive the flagging economy as well as the currency. The Indian rupee slid from 46.15/dollar in August 29, 2011 to 68.75/dollar in August 28, 2013--a plunge of whopping 49 percent. On a monthly basis, the rupee depreciated 13.88 percent. YTD, the rupee fell 25 percent. The rupee fell 22% in July 1991, steepest before August 2013 happened. In March 1992, the rupee had fallen 11.5%. Considering the fact that elections are approaching and that the rupee gained after the appointment of Raghuram Rajan as the RBI Governer, it can be said

M. Thomas, USA that the panic in the currency markets is a bit exaggerated. It can be seen from historical data that the value of the rupee always depreciates before every general election and goes up after the elections. Ever since India liberalized its economy and made the currency partially convertible, there has been a huge influx of foreign investors in India and that is what has helped the rupee to maintain its value. In fact Foreign Institutional Investors own almost a quarter of the equities in the Indian market and this is the most important factor that determines the value of the currency. When they invest in the Indian economy, they have to give US dollars to the Indian Government and buy Indian rupees to invest in

HIGH COURT TELLS CIDCO TO SET UP PANEL TO FIX RATES AT MGM HOSPITAL, VASHI. N AV I M U M B A I : T h e Bombay high court has passed an order directing the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) to form a special monitoring committee in order to

decide rates and fees charged by MGM Hospital in Vashi and run it on no profit, no loss basis according to the original lease agreement. This order was passed on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by activist Sandeep Thakur in the year 2005 seeking to ensure that 25% of beds in MGM hospital, Vashi, are reserved for the poor as per the original understanding between the hospital management and CIDCO of Maharashtra Limited. After finding the response filed by a CIDCO estate officer unsatisfactory, the high court bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M S Sonak, has recently directed CIDCO to select a threemember committee to decide the rates charged by the hospital and

also ensure that the management runs it on a no profit, no loss basis, based on the require-ments in the original lease agreement. "I am satisfied by this High Court direction to CIDCO to form a monitoring committee. In fact, this court ruling will have greater ramifications as several private hospitals had got land on lease from CIDCO to run them on a no profit, no loss basis. But many hospitals disregard it and charge exorbitant fees from all patients,'' said Thakur. He added, "The high court has given December 31 deadline this year to CIDCO to select the hos-pital monitoring committee. I hope CIDCO shows courage to confront the politically connected bigwigs who are currently running most of these private hospitals in Navi Mumbai.'' The three persons in this committee will include a medical professional having experience of running hospitals, an accounting and auditing expert and a social worker. "We are working at present to form this special hospital monitoring committee of three members.'' The next Bombay high court hearing on this matter for final disposal is January 17, 2014.

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the country. This results in the government getting foreign exchange and printing fresh Indian currency to give liquidity to the markets to enable smooth functioning of the economy. The economy improves and tax collections increase but if the excess supply of Indian currency is not controlled, it gives rise to inflation. Salaries and real estate and commodities become expensive due to all the money floating around. It becomes a case of too much money chasing too few goods and services. Now if the economy continues to improve slowly and steadily without any instability, inflation will be contained. If too much foreign money comes into the country at a very fast rate, it will result in very high inflation due to all the excess Indian currency floating around. This is exactly what has happened to India in the past few years. When inflation results in higher prices for everything in India, foreign investors will start to think whether it is worth investing in India. Especially since the Indian Government is slow at opening up local markets like retail and insurance for foreign companies to operate, they find that India is not profitable for them. With all these factors, when there is a slight turmoil or approaching elections, the fear factor sets in and they start to withdraw their investments. Any fear of uncertainty in Indian markets makes them pull out their money from Indian investments. Just before every general election, foreign investors are worried about the prospects of elections (Contd..... on page 3)

Adv. A. V. Sivasankaran One of the most useful and versatile chemical is in the news for the wrong reasons. A manufacturing company in Mumbai has been alleged to have used the chemical, ethylene oxide for the sterilization of their product, baby talcum powder. This is not the first time that this hazardous chemical has become a center of controversy. Almost 30 years ago a chemical called Diethylene glycol, a derivative of ethylene oxide was alleged to have caused the death of a number of children at the JJ hospital, Mumbai due to the administration of injectable glycerol. The glycerol manufactured by a company in Maharashtra called Alpana pharmaceuticals was said to have caused this tragedy and the findings of the one man enquiry commission, justice Lentin did not find favour with the then government. Ethylene oxide continues to be in the news largely because of its usefulness and versatality. EO i.e. C2 H2O is a colorless and highly flammable gas manufactured by a process catalytic oxidation of the hydrocarbon, ethylene. It finds wide applications in the manufacturing acrylonitrile and non ionic surfactants apart from the other usage for fumigants and sterilization agents. A mixture of ethylene oxide with gases such as Freon and carbon dioxide is widely used as a sterilization gas mixture which is manufactured in India by (Contd..... on page 3)

COMMUTE GETS EASY: COASTAL NODE FOR 10-LANE SION-PANVEL HIGHWAY The state coastal body has given a go-ahead to the Sion-Panvel highway expansion project that will enable you to zip from the city to Navi Mumbai and Pune on a 10-lane-highway. The project is already under construction under the public works department (PWD) but had suffered a setback as the proposed toll plaza on this stretch was not in tune with Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) norms. After the PWD altered the design of its toll plaza at Kamothe from 15 lanes to one spanning across 9 lanes, the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA), in a meeting held on August 30 and 31, gave its nod to the project. The project has been recommended to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF); the final clearance is expected from the Centre. The state coastal body has, however, asked the PWD to adopt control measures for construction activities generating high noise and to get a nod from the High Court as the proposed construction is 50 m inside the mangroves buffer zone. (Contd..... on page 2)



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October 1 - 15, 2013

The Sky High Drama Whether it was a drama or a melo drama, only an investigation would reveal. What happened recently on an Air India flight from Bangkok to New Delhi should open up the eyes of every air traveler as well as aviation authorities. The flight was as usual except for the fact that in the midway at 33,000 feet, the pilot's seats were occupied by the Air Hostesses. If reports are to be believed, the air hostesses commanded the flight for well over 30 minutes when one of them inadvertently switched off the auto pilot, leaving the plane to its fate and float on its own. But for the timely alarm raised by some one who sensed something foul, the fate of the passengers would have been different. The incident raises many questions with regard to the flight safety. It is safe to presume that such practices were common and routine with the airlines. It also raises an important issue whether the pilots in command are allowed to vacate their seats and put air hostess in command as part of flight operating procedures. In any case the practice of both the pilots abdicating their responsibilities one after another by installing the air hostesses in their seats has no precedence and is a grave error and

omission of the procedural rules and safety regulations. Probably an accident on account of such grave lapses would have never revealed the cock pit drama which preceded an accident and an investigation was sure to conceal more and reveal less. In any case we cannot boast of an impartial and unbiased enquiry since in most of the cases they are conducted by vested interests and incompetent persons. This raises the important questions of procedural compliance in aviation safety in our country. It is not an exaggeration to assert that we are a law flouting people by and large with no exceptions. Whether on road, rail, sea or sky we have least respect for the procedures, rules and regulations and this behavior abnormality is reflected in our actions be it at home or in sky. The scant regard for the law of the land is becoming more of an obsession with our people with the educated one leading the row. Disrespect to duly established procedures and contempt for the rules and regulations are the prime reasons for the many number of accidents and the innumerable incidences of corruption in our country. Let God save our country.

Parenting and Child Health Authoritative parents believe the child should behave in accordance with their rules and standards, but within a context of rational discussion. Such parents encourage communication and share reasons for conduct with the child. The authoritative parents do not see, themselves as infallible and are open to change as circumstances change. Permissive parents do not put as much emphasis on the child conforming to a set of rules, instead, the child is consulted, and self regulation by the child is emphasized. The parent is seen as a resource but not necessarily as the final word in setting external standards for the child's behavior within each of this parenting types, the parent can vary on warmth and both the type of control and the use of warmth can influence the child's development. The most common type of behavioural observation has been the social interchanges within the family in their home environment. This procedure forces an examination of the dual role of each subject as a reactor and as an initiator. Re-

(The writer is a Post Graduate from Indian Institute of Human Rights, New Delhi.)

searchers who use there techniques believe that the day to day interactions between the parent and child underline the way parents learn, maintain, and deploy different child management skills. Observation has also been used to confirm that within authoritative families, parent encourage reciprocal communication and do more listening, questioning and reframing. Gerald Patterson has suggested four variables as crucial in effective parentage. He calls these

variables together family management. Firstly some parents apply consistent and effective controls on problem behaviour, other parents frequently threaten and scold but seldom back up their threats with effective action. The variable measuring this family management skill is called discipline. Second, some parent carefully track the where about of their children, while others do not note any but the most obvious changes in their children's behaviour. The variable constructed to measure this skill is called monitoring. Third, some parent can negotiate, can solve problems and can cope with crisis arising inside and outside the family; others cannot. The variable that assesses these skills is termed problem solving. A fourth variable is positive reinforcement where the parent reinforces the child for those behaviours he wishes to maintain. By, employing certain techniques in their own lives, parents inevitably foster these same techniques in their on children.

SAFER CITIES THROUGH PHYSICAL PLANNING GOVERNOR RELEASES BOOK : WHAT IS INDIA ? AND ENVIRONMENT DESIGN Shri. K. Sankaranarayanan, Hon'ble Governor of Maharashtra released the Malayalam edition of “What is India”? titled “ Enthanu India? at Raj Bhavan on September 13, 2013. The book published by Academic Publications, Meghalaya is a compilation of quotations. The book by Salil Gewli is a remarkable attempt to showcase the views of the world-renowned intellectuals about India and her classical literature and spiritual legacy. It provides how ancient wisdom inspired 'the greatest of the great' scientists, thinkers, writers, poets and statesmen. The book illustrates how highly great thinkers from all over the globe valued Indian spiritual culture which transformed their lives. Salil Gewali has already earned world-wide appreciation for his work which has been translated into seven Indian languages including Hindi, Tamil, Telegu, Marathi, Gujarati, Nepali and Malayalam. While releasing the book, the Governor complimented the author for his efforts in compiling th book. The Malayalam edition has been translated by Dr. M. Pushpangadan, poet and writer. Ms. Manasi, novelist and a Kerala Sahithya Academy Award winner, V.N. Gopalakrishnan, Freelance Journalist and General Covenor, Vichara Vediare the two other people associated with the Malayalam edition of the book. For copies Contact : 09819363533

(COMMUTES GETS EASY : COASTAL ....... Contd ..... from page 1) While the earlier toll plaza design would have required mangroves to be uprooted from across 7 hectares and the acquisition of another 6 hectares land, the new design has no such requirements. The proposed project will expand the road from the existing 8 lanes to 10 lanes from BARC junction to Kalamboli across 23.9 kms. There are 3 flyovers planned across this stretch at Sanpada, Uran and Kamothe. With the coastal clearance in hand, the project will be completed without any hurdles, said PWD officials. MCZMA also gave a go ahead to other two road infrastructure projects in the metropolitan region implemented by Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) – the 6-lane Kalyan ring road and the construction of a 4-lane-bridge across Ulhas creek in Kalyan. However, the construction of a 15-km-link between NH3 (Mumbai-Agra highway) from Gaymukh (within Thane municipal limits) to Kasheli near Bhiwandi, along Ghodbunder road bypass, was put on the backburner. The state coastal body pointed out that the proposed alignment of the bypass is passing through the rich biodiversity area of Ghodbunder and it would shift all city traffic towards the creek area, disturbing the ecology of the area.

DISCLAIMER The news published by various authors in this publication are their sole opinion and Editor is in no way accountable and responsible.

(Contd. from previous issue ) The process of cleanliness begins from within. The purity of the soul is reflected in the face, and purity of thought should be translated to purity of action. Ask what you can do before telling others what to do. The environment around one self should be kept clean, starting from one's own person. Do not abuse the environment around you. It should be protected with great determination and perseverance. This responsibility rests with each and every one of us. When you litter your surroundings, the wind will blow the same back to you. Stagnant water is the breeding ground for mosquitoes keep your surroundings dry. If we are conscientious enough, the task of keeping of environment clean can be accomplished. Each one of us should plant at least one tree, considering it to be our duty. We can expect perfection from nature only if we protect it in turn. We should change our preferences from chemical products in favour of natural products. This would be the simplest way to make a beginning. If we protect trees, nature will do the rest. If we have pollution free environment, we will lead lives of peace and happiness. Where there is a will, physical constraints are of no consequence. God's precious gift of nature is being destroyed by the complacence of our race. All of us desire to live in conducive environment. "Cleanliness brings happiness" says a proverb. If we keep our minds happy, our thoughts will be pure. Purity of thoughts will result in

C.K. Subramaniam purity of speech. This is in turn will result in the formation of clean habits. Clean habits will further good conduct. Good conduct is what ultimately matters. Just as nature adapts itself according to the varying seasons, man must also learn to live in unison with nature. God had blessed us with benevolent Mother Nature: magnificent mountain peaks peeping out from behind the clouds, adorned by rivulets, waterfalls and evergreen forests, the scent of the gentle breeze and soothing climate. Everyone around the world has been uniformly blessed by God when it comes to the par take of such wonders. Let every family pledge to plant at least one tree thereby strengthening the foundation of our motherland. Healthy environment is the most essential prerequisite of human life. But today, man is enemy of his environment and is quite close to suffocating himself. There prevails environmental degradation. If detrimental to the existence of living species. All the components of environment (viz) air, water, soil etc., are sadly affected by the pollutants. This has caused pollution of the whole environment. Pollution occurs when environmental changes create health hazards, safety of welfare or when they are harmful to domestic, industrial, agricultural, recreational or other legitimate uses of environmental components of livestock, wildlife, fish, aquatic life and other biological species. Pollution or environment is directly or indirectly affecting adversely human wealth and well

being. Pollution thus impairs living organism and in case appropriate steps are not taken to control environmental degradation, the life will become miserable. In fact, pollution has become a great menace of life. All the countries whether developing or developed, suffer from environ-mental crisis. The environment today is under severe threat from the pressure generated by the growth of human and animal population poverty and the misuse / unplanned use of natural resources. During the last century, this problem has become so acute that people belonging to all walks of life (i.e.) scientists, academics, poets, lovers of wild life etc., have been called to discuss man's responsibility in this connection. No doubt, some fragmentary legislative and administrative steps have been taken to meet this challenge but the size and seriousness of the problem have been increasing day by day at a higher pace. This problem is so acute that the hope of humanity will be able to meet this challenge, seems to recede. In fact, the impact of pollution is so alarming that according to World Health Organization's estimates, as much as 90% of the world's diseases are traceable to water pollution. Jaundice, typhoid, cholera and other gastroenteritis diseases are attributed to water pollution. Added to it, air pollution causes innumerable health hazards. Several studies have documented the relationship between contaminated air and health problems. (To be contd. )


October 1 - 15, 2013

A Farmer's Story

(This is a story which was popular among the villagers of Kerala in the olden days. It is relevant to the present situation in the country where internecine fights have become common in every political party.) Once there lived a poor farmer in a village by the side of a vast paddy field. He had two little sons called Kichu and Nandu. One afternoon, the farmer was relaxing on a cot, enjoying the cool breeze that wafted in from the field. The sight of the endless greenery swaying in the wind caught his imagination. He was so much delighted that he thought one day he would be the owner of the field. He couldn't keep the thought to himself. He called his sons to his side and said to them

“Look at the field. How green it is! And how vast! One day I will become rich and I will buy it”. He continued, “Then we will grow paddy and harvest the crop. There will be lots and lots of it.” The children listened to him with rapt attention. “We will pound the paddy and get rice. There will be enough rice for all of us. We can eat as much as we want and still there will be some left”. The boys beamed at the glad news. Kichu asked his father, “Papa, what will we do with the remaining rice ?” The farmer thought for a moment and replied “We will make laddoos, sweet rice laddoos with jaggery and coconut.” “How many will you make papa ?” asked Nandu, the younger boy whose mouth started watering at the very mention of the word 'Laddoo'. He was afraid whether his elder brother would grab all the laddoos, as was his habit, leaving nothing to him. So he wanted to find out the exact number of laddoos that would be made and his own share of it. The farmer

(IS THE FALL OF THE RUPPE ....... Contd ..... from page 1) and a hung parliament and they reduce investments in the Indian economy. And when they sell their shares and pull out their money, the Indian Government has to pay them in US dollars. So the reserves go down but the Indian currency floating in the market stays floating in the market. The Government cannot mop it up effectively as it will result in a liquidity crunch which will make the currency stronger but will stifle business. If business gets stifled, more foreign investors will withdraw their money from India and that will result in a dangerous downward spiral. Then there is also economic uncertainty throughout the world. Adding to the fact that there is a huge debt bubble in China which could burst any time, foreign investors are very edgy when it comes to investment in emerging markets. Even though nobody would like to accept it, India is also in a bubble smaller than that of China. To believe that, all one only needs to do is to look at the real estate markets and inflation in India. Values of real estate in India have risen more than 10 times in the last 10 years. When values of real estate have risen so much that it is more expensive than in Western countries, it becomes less profitable for these investors to buy land and do business in India. Foreign investors came to India so they could use low priced land and labor and increase their profits.

However in the last ten years, there has been a huge rise in salaries and a massive rise in real estate values. This makes it uneconomical for them to do business in India. It can be seen that FIIs are gravitating towards other countries that are cheaper than India. Then there is the issue of the US Federal Reserve tapering its massive stimulus program. Overseas investors are exiting their emerging market investments including from India. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke has hinted at cutting liquidity easing stimulus on the back of improvement in the US economy. The US Treasury bond prices are falling (or, yields are rising). Investors are withdrawing money from other countries to park it back in US. This means that there will be fewer dollars floating around and less money to invest in emerging markets. Another reason for the withdrawal of foreign funds is the imminent attack on Syria which could increase global oil prices which is even more detrimental to India. India has to import huge quantities of oil to sustain its industries and if oil prices increase, profits will reduce and their investments will take a beating. So they prefer to sell and park their funds in their own countries. All these factors combined make investing in India not a very profitable proposition. Ironically there is no panic in the equities

(DO BABIES NEED BABY TALCUM ....... Contd ..... from page 1 many pesticide manufacturers. Ethylene Glycol, a hydrate of EO is also used in the manufacture of brake fluids, electrolytic condensers, printing inks, ball point inks and plasticizers. It is one of the best kept secret of industry that the EO is also used in the manufacture of cholin chloride, a condensed protein widely used as an ingredient in the manufacture of protein formulations and poultry feeds. The latest controversy is with regard to the residues allegedly

detected by the talcum powder manufactured by the famous company Johnson and Johnson which in all probability must have had trace EO left in it, sufficient to cause allergic reactions and other hazards. The way chemicals are being handled and used in some of our industries is mindboggling with least regard to procedure and rules resulting in excess exposure, accidents and occupational disease. It is precisely because of the

said, “Don't you worry, there will be enough for both of you. They will be very sweet and you will really enjoy eating them.” However, Kichu thought that, Nandu being the younger one, might get more laddoos than him. He therefore said, “I must get more laddoos than Nandu. I am the elder one.” Nandu countered,” Why should you? I am the younger one, agreed. Are not the smaller children supposed to get more sweets? Certainly, I must get more.” They started screaming at each other. Then they fought. The cries of “I want more” rent the air. “Have patience, have patience, there is no need for a fight. I will decide the number of laddoos each one of you will get. ”, saying this, the farmer separated the duo. Like fighting cocks, the duo went at each other's throat as soon as the father turned his back. As the situation took an ugly turn, the infuriated farmer intervened. He gave a good beating to the warring Kichu and Nandu. Thereafter, both the children became friends again. markets in spite of the losses in the currency markets. The Bombay stock exchange has been holding almost steady without any massive losses like that of the currency. This has given rise to a school of thought that says that before elections, politicians need money. So they artificially depreciate the value of the rupee so they can bring their foreign currency into the country and get excess money in Indian Rupees if the currency is devalued. According to this theory, the Indian currency is deliberately weakened by the political class before the elections to bring massive sums of money parked in Swiss banks. However this seems to be just a conspiracy theory that is impractical due to the partial convertibility of the Indian rupee. The silver lining to the currency depreciation is that when the value of the currency goes down, exports pick up and bring in more foreign currency to the market. Foreign investors will find India cheaper again and will invest more in India. NRIs will also find it profitable and send in more investments and make up for the shortfall. All this will automatically help balance the value of the Rupee vis-à-vis the dollar. Considering the fact that inflation that has swallowed up the economy in the past few years, the only way to bring in more foreign investments is to allow the Rupee to fall to its right level as decided by the economics of demand and supply. toxic nature and flammability hazards, these chemicals are subject to strict controls at the manufacturing stage. There are very few chemicals with a flammability range of 3-100% apart from hydrogen which also has a wide flammability range which makes it spontaneously combustible and explosive. It was also well known that a certain Arabian country was experimenting with EO in the manufacturing of a deadly fuel – air bomb which had a high selective impact and

NAVI MUMBAI - NEWS CBI STENOGRAPHER ARRESTED FOR MOLESTING FEMALE DOC ON TRAIN A 21-year-old stenographer with the CBI, in Navi Mumbai was today arrested for allegedly molesting a female doctor while she was asleep in a Mumbai-bound Express train, railway police said. Chandraprakash Malkhan Singh, was arrested after he was brought to Mumbai Central Government Railway Police station on Friday following a complaint by the 31-year-old woman that she was inappropriately touched by the accused inside the coach of Gujarat Mail around 3 am on Friday, Rajendra Trivedi, senior inspector at the police station told. According to police, the doctor, who was travelling alone to Mumbai to attend a medical conference, was asleep when Singh, who occupied the upper berth, touched her inappropriately on the pretext of picking up a fallen bed sheet, when the train reached Valsad railway station. "The victim raised alarm following which other passengers gathered. Subsequently, ticket checker was informed who prepared a report on the incident and telephoned police helpline number," Trivedi added. As the train reached Borivali railway station in Mumbai, Police reached the compartment and brought the accused to Mumbai Central Government Railway Police station along with the victim and TC. "Upon the complaint, an FIR was registered and the accused, who works in CBI office in Navi Mumbai, was arrested. Singh, who stays in Antop Hill area, had gone to Ahmadabad for some office work," Trivedi said. Singh was being taken to Valsad railway police for further investigation as the incident occurred in their jurisdiction, the officer said.

VASHI PLAYERS TO REPRESENT INDIA AT INTERNATIONAL AEROBICS Fifteen school children from Navi Mumbai have been selected to represent India in the FISAF International World Fitness and Hip Hop UNITE championships to be held from October 15 to 20 in Belgrade, Serbia. They have been selected based on their performance at the Maharashtra State eighth ISAFF National Sports Aerobics, Fitness and Hip Hop Championship held on August 30, 31 and September 1 in Shirdi. All the 15 players, secured their place at the international meet after winning gold and silver in the eighth ISAFF National Sports Aerobics, Fitness and Hip Hop Championship. All the children have been trained at Fr Agnel Sports Coaching Centre (Gymnastics) in Vashi. Over 1,000 players from across 15 states participated in the tournament and city players gave them tough competition including some national-level players. Earlier, in the state-level competition at Nashik, 22 participants from city proved their mettle and secured their places in the state squad. They won in aerobics individual senior category, under-11 of fitness aerobics category, and under-14 fitness aerobics categories. “All the children practised at the Fr Agnel's sports complex and have performed excellently with 100 per cent result,” said Jagdish Rajeshirke, chief coach. All the selected children are from different schools of the city. Rajeshirke, the chief coach, said that this is the first time that city players will be participating in an international tournament. “The two other coaches associated with the NMGA, namely Padma Rajeshirke and Praseetha Khabia have provided great support to children,” said Rajeshirke. destruction potential. It was on account of this characteristic of many chemicals, the chemical weapons convention was enacted for preventing diversification of multipurpose chemicals into chemical weapons and warfares. Ethylene Oxide manufacturing was the monopoly of a petroche-

mical company called Nocil which is now defunct. They have been manufacturing and supplying this product from the year 1970 to almost 1999 in bulk as well as in cylinders and because of the strict safety measures in the manufacturing process as well as in the (Contd..... on page 4)


October 1 - 15, 2013

Onam reinforces strong family bonds and transcends Keralites to an idyllic state Onam is celebrated by the Keralites all over the globe with joy and enthusiasm irrespective of caste, community or religion. It is the biggest, colourful and picturesque harvest festival. It represents the spirit of Kerala transcending the Malayalis to an idyllic state of leisure, games, dance, music and sumptuous feasts. Onam transports each Malayali to his/her native place. The word Onam or Thiruvonam is said to have derived from the Sanskrit word Shravanam and Thiruonam is one among the 27 nakshatras or constellations. The word Thiru is used to address places and activities associated with Lord Vishnu and Thiruvonam is also believed to be the nakshtra of Lord Vishnu. It is also believed that Onam festivities started during the Sangam era. Onam is normally celebrated at the beginning of Chingam, the first month of the Malayalam era (Kollavarsham) and corresponds with August - September, accord-ing to the Gregorian calendar. This year, Thiruonam falls on September 16. During the harvest season in Kerala, the paddy fields look brilliant and glow with golden grains. It is also the blooming time for flowers and fruits. After Karkidakam, the month of deprivation, farmers are happy with a bountiful harvest and celebrate the festival to the hilt. Commencing from Atham, Onam festival continues for ten days and culminate on Thiruonam. Atham is regarded as auspicious and is determined by the position of stars. Onam festival marks the homecoming of legendary King

Mahabali popularly known as Maveli or Onathappan. King Mahabali is the son of Virochana and grandson of Prahlad, the devout son of demon King Hiranyakasipu. King Mahabali also belonged to the Asura dynasty but was an ardent worshipper of Lord Vishnu. He was highly respected and was considered to be exceptionally munificent, charitable and sensible. During his regime, everybody was happy and prosperous and the rich and poor were equally treated. It is believed that there was neither crime, nor corruption prevalent in his kingdom. Even poverty or disease was absent in his kingdom and it is said that in the absence of thieves, even the people did not even lock their doors. Onam celebrations will be started at Trikkakara in Kerala which was believed to the capital of King Mahabali. A temple with a deity of Trikkakara Appan is also located at this place. Trikkakara Appan or Vamanamurthy is Lord Vishnu in disguise. It is believed that on the Thiruonam day, Lord Vishnu took his fifth avatar as a Brahmin boy by name Vamana and visited King Mahabali. Vamana sought a boon of three feet of land from King Mahabali. Known for his munificence, King Mahabali granted the boon and Vamana measured the earth and heaven and sought the third feet. Unable to grant the third boon, King Mahabali agreed to push him down to the nether world (pathala). However, he sought permission to visit his kingdom once in a year which was promptly granted. People believe that on the

V.N. Gopalakrishnan Thiruonam day King Mahabali visits his subjects and hence the day is marked by feast and festivities. To welcome their revered King, people lay Pookkalam (flower mats) and prepare Onasadya (grand feast). Traditionally, Onasadya is a nine course meal consisting of 11 to 13 essential dishes and served on banana leaves. In traditional Tharawads (large families), the Karanavar (eldest member) presents Onapudava (new clothes) as gifts to all family members including servants. Other members of the family exchange gifts among each other. Athachamayam is a grand procession that marks the beginning of Onam and is celebrated at Tripunithura. The event recalls a royal tradition when Maharajas of erstwhile Kochi state travelled to the Tripunithura Fort with their entire entourage. A procession of decorated elephants is also carried out in Thrissur, the cultural capital of Kerala. It is a magnificent sight the bejeweled elephants in their full majesty and grandeur during the procession.


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Vallamkali (snake boat race) is another feature of Onam. A large number of Chundan Vallams (decorated boats) participate with hundreds of oarsmen for the race. Kerala has developed a boating tradition thanks to the abundance of navigable rivers. The long boats embellished with festoons and silk umbrellas present a charming spectacle in the backwaters of Punnamada near Alappuzha district. It is dazzling and stunning spectacle with the rhythmic rise and fall of the oars as oarsmen row in unison. It is complimented by songs and music accompanied by the beating of drums. Pulikkali is another entertaining performance where the performers take the guise of tigers, painting their bodies yellow with patterns of black and red. Scenes of tiger hunting goats and tigers being hunted by humans are

beautifully depicted through this folk art. Kummattikali is another recreational folk dance performed during the festival. Dressed in plaited grass and colourful wooden masks, performers entertain people by enacting mythological and folk themes. Kaikottikali is an elegant clap dance performed during Onam. In this, women sing songs praising the legendary King Mahabali and dance around the Pookkalam. Thumbi Thullal is another folk dance performed by women who sit in a circle. The lead performer sits inside the circle and initiates the song which is taken up by other singers. Onam not only keeps alive memories of a bygone era of peace and prosperity but brings families scattered in distant places to an annual get-together reinforcing the strong family bonds.

(DO BABIES NEED BABY TALCUM ....... Contd ..... from page 3 transfer, bottling, and transporting, there were no major mishaps involving this chemical even though it was transported in the length and breadth of the country by road. Nocil being a shell participative company had strict command and control systems in place such as safety audits and products stewardship drive etc. with special regard to safety and environment. Today these hazardous product manufacturing is the monopoly of the largest petrochemical company in India, Reliance and the increase in capacity and its abundance has resulted in its abuse and misuse largely by the end users spread across the country as understood. Apart from major pesticide manufacturers even large hospitals are known to use this product with impunity for the sterilization of surgical instruments and apparatus. The most distinguishing feature of this versatile chemical is its wide flammability range which means it is flammable at 3% to 100% in combination with air or without it. If proper care and precaution are not taken, a spontaneous explosion becomes inevitable. Such chemicals are also toxic and carcinogenic and therefore, has to be used under strict technical supervision. With regard to talcum powder issue it is to be mentioned that it is next to impossible to remove the trace residues of EO from the powder possibly making it carcinogenic and flammable too. In the absence of proper and effective legislation, the abuse and misuse of hazardous chemicals and wastes continue to proliferate in our country. We have petrol and diesel with carcinogenic benzene residues as much as 3% and fruits ripened with calcium carbide, which is also an explosive capable of generating the flammable gas, acetylene. Many of our enactments on food, drugs, cosmetics and

chemical are ineffective and poorly drafted. They are conspicously silent on many issues related to the manufacturing, storage, transportation and end use of ultra hazardous chemicals. Their implementation and enforcement are selective and tardy resulting in corruption and loss Laws and regulations unenforced and disregard are not worth the paper on which they are written and this is the fate of India todayanybody listening ? (The author is also a retd safety Engineer and MBA in Environmental Studies with a record of having audited more than 300 haz industries for HSE compliance).



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Sunny News 1st-15th October,2013